Veterans rehabilitation, circa 1866

“North Carolina was the first former Confederate state to provide funds for prosthetics [for veterans], signing an April 1866 contract with George B. Jewett, a Massachusetts inventor and the manufacturer of the Salem Leg and Arm. Governor Jonathan Worth provided a building for limb manufacturing in Raleigh and paid Jewett $5,000 in advance; in return, Jewett would sell legs to the state for $75 each, a steep discount. The state also paid for railroad transportation to the factory and housing for amputees during their fittings.

“The state program ran until 1871, spending $81,310.12….”

— From “Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War” by Megan Kate Nelson (2012)


Tree shelled by N.C. troops became memento

“The shards of wartime trees… were fragments to own and display…  in the parlors and cabinets of veterans and battlefield tourists.

“One such war fragment is a three-foot-high tree trunk, smooth and shiny but for a single shot lodged in its surface. North Carolina artillerists fired that shot… on July 2, 1863, in an assault on Big Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg.

“The tree withstood the cannon fire and lived for almost half a century longer before falling in a 1906 thunderstorm. It was then removed from Big Round Top, and the section containing the shot was cut away. Workers peeled its bark, varnished its surface and then attached a plaque explaining the tree’s provenance and the likely origin of the shot. Only then did they mount a bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln on top.”

— From “Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War” by Megan Kate Nelson (2012)


Soldiers in New Bern planted trees in the midst of war

“The city park movement, instigated by Andrew Jackson Downing, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the 1840s and 1850s, demonstrated that Americans needed to balance city life with healthful interactions with nature….

“In the context of the landscape of war, which transformed forests into camp villages seemingly overnight and often seemed to wipe out all vegetation and animal life, soldiers sought to reinsert nature into their lives by planting flowers and especially transplanting trees.

“Ensconced in camp near New Bern, North Carolina, in 1863, George Troup and his brother, Charles, worked on two different tree transplantation projects….”

— From “Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War” by Megan Kate Nelson (2012)

Is anyone else startled to read of such a landscaping project in the midst of war? How long might the Troup brothers’ trees have survived?